How to Responsibly Dispose of Empty Paint Cans

A tin can of canned goods made of aluminum.

If you have empty paint cans, there are several responsible methods for disposing of them:

  • If the cans are completely empty and dry, you can recycle them with your regular metal recycling. Just make sure to remove the lids before recycling.
  • If there is a small amount of leftover paint in the cans, you can let it dry completely before disposing of them in the regular trash. Make sure to leave the lids off to allow the paint to dry fully.
  • You can also check with your local recycling or hazardous waste facility to see if they accept empty paint cans for recycling.
  • If the cans still have usable paint, consider donating them to a local community center, school, or theater group. They might be able to make use of the leftover paint for their projects.

Empty paint cans are typically classified as hazardous waste, so it's important to handle and dispose of them properly. Avoid pouring leftover paint down the drain or throwing the cans with wet paint in the trash, as this can harm the environment. Following these methods will help you avoid the landfill responsibly and ensure that the paint cans are recycled or disposed of in the correct way.